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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Teen shelter, nature preserve among $30 million in Spokane-area projects funded in state budget

Fawn Schott, of Volunteers of America, stands in the Crosswalk’s commons area at Second Avenue and Howard Street, May 3, 2019, in Spokane. The area is used multi-purposes, including dining and sleeping in the Murphy wall beds. Plans are underway to move to a new building near Spokane Community College. The Washington Legislature voted to fund the move in its 2020 budget. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA – Spokane County is set to receive nearly $30 million from the state’s capital budget for construction projects, including park restoration and shelter expansion services.

The city’s Crosswalk Teen Shelter would get $1.5 million to expand the facility located near Spokane Community College. It includes money for more space to house teens.

“We have too many homeless teens, and we don’t have anywhere for them to go, so this is really amazing,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, and a member of the Capital Budget Committee. “It’s really combating that problem and helping some of our most vulnerable youth.”

There were 2,987 homeless youths in Spokane County, according to a 2018 report from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. About 2,800 were able to use shelters or find other temporary housing, but 186 remained unsheltered.

Spokane Falls Community College will receive $20 million for a new Fine Arts Building. The project was initially skipped over in the Senate capital budget but added in negotiations, Riccelli said. Eastern Washington University will receive $3 million for roof repairs

Other Spokane-area projects in the capital budget include the following:

  • $1,548,000 for the Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve;
  • $200,000 for the Spokane Sportsplex;
  • $100,000 for the If You Could Just Save One project, a program that pairs volunteers with youth to work on community projects;
  • $100,000 for renovations to Transitions TLC Transitional Housing;
  • $25,000 for the Five Mile Roundabout Art Project.

The nature preserve is 95 acres of undeveloped floodplains and includes 1,700 feet of shoreline of the Little Spokane River. Riccelli said he’s been working with several community members on the project.

Additionally, Spokane Valley will receive $130,000 for the Sullivan Park waterline installation and $70,000 for the Spokane Valley Museum. The Doris Morrison Environmental Learning Center in Greenacres will receive $500,000.

The Eastern Washington State Historical Society will receive $759,000 for preservation projects.

“These investments will have a positive impact in all communities and help people and businesses across the economic spectrum,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, in a news release.